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NEET Controversy: Physics Wallah Founder Calls for Exam Transparency

Alakh Pandey, the founder and CEO of Physics Wallah, has advocated for greater openness in the way the tests are administered, casting doubt on the National Testing Agency’s (NTA) legitimacy following the announcement that 1,563 candidates for the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) were given grace marks. A inquiry by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) from Bihar’s Economic Offences Unit (EOU) is “suggestive of a paper leak,” which heightens the issue surrounding the exam.

Pandey had on June 9 filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court asking how the NTA arrived at the figure of 1,563 students, who have now been given a chance to either reappear for the exam on June 23 or accept their original scores.

“When the results were declared on June 4, the NTA didn’t mention the grant of grace marks. It was only when it was pointed out that some students had scored 718 and 719 marks (which is not possible given the scheme of the exam) did the NTA disclose that some students had been given grace marks. This has raised serious questions on the functioning of NTA. Were grace marks given in previous years and similarly not disclosed?” Pandey told The Indian Express at the Noida headquarters of his ed-tech firm.

The founder and CEO added, “What is the exact number of students given grace marks — 1,563 or more? Why are only 1,563 students being given a second chance to reappear for NEET? What about other students who have also suffered loss of time? How did the NTA arrive at the number 1,563?”

His PIL has also requested the Supreme Court to form an expert panel to scrutinize

His petition in the Supreme court says, “… Seeing the concerns of number of students and himself (Pandey) being frantically contacted by his students, the petitioner raised the queries on various forums so that appropriate clarifications may be issued by respondent 1 (NTA) with respect to the same and answers may be provided to the queries raised by the students…”

On June 6, an NTA press release justified the unprecedented increase in candidates with perfect scores by stating that it had awarded grace marks to 1,563 students this year who had faced “loss of time” at their respective centres. Pandey’s plea also challenges the justification provided by the NTA on this year’s top-scorers — that the increase in average marks reflects better preparation and higher performance among candidates. “On what basis has the NTA granted compensatory marks for loss of time to 1,563 candidates, resulting in revised scores ranging from 120 to 720 marks?” he said.

the examination process and its results. Since June 4, when the NTA announced the NEET-UG results and 67 candidates got a perfect score of 720/720, Pandey’s office says over 20,000 students have approached him via email and social media to ask for his help in getting justice.

Pandey, who started his ed-tech journey over a decade ago by uploading videos of his classes made on his phone on YouTube videos to building an app to help aspirants prepare for JEE-NEET, told The Indian Express, “Every year, students approach us with some or the other issue, but we have not seen anything like this before. This (filing the plea) is all very new to me. Humne jeevan mein court-kacheri dekhi hi nahin thi (I had never set foot inside a courtroom before this).”

Sitting in his office, located at the end of the hall, he talks about the reason that drove him to fight for the aspirants. Pandey says, “Our platform provides courses at very cheap rates, which is why …at least 8 lakh of the 24 lakh aspirants who gave the exam this year are students who have been with us for years. This is why I decided to fight this fight.”

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Source: The Indian Express

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